Monday 9 November 2015

Moby Dick: Week Four

I didn't post last week because I'd already finished this weeks chapters by the time I had a moment to post so I couldn't really remember where the divide was, but I wanted to post this week because I'm still keeping up, despite wanting to pull my eyes out at times. I carried the book around with me in my bag all day today (usually I read the chapters on the bus to and from work on a Monday) and I got it out at one point, read a page and a half and then just so strongly didn't want to read any more of it that I put it down and read How to Be a Heroine instead. 

1) Please tell me you didn't attempt to read this week's chapters whilst eating. How did you find the... instructive aspects of these chapters?

I did. I did read these chapters while eating and it was pretty much the worst thing ever. I felt violently ill for the rest of the day. Whale beheadings with my sandwiches? No thanks. Also while the instructions on how to de-blubber a whale had a certain sort of morbid fascination, I really don't feel that it was something that I needed to know. 

2) What tactics have you been employing to get through this book? Marking off chapters? Reading online summaries? Crying into the pages?

I marked out each weeks chapters before we started, so there's always a light at the end of the tunnel. Also the chapters are mostly so short that I just tell myself it's only a page or two each time and progress that way. And there's the thing where I just stopped reading the excruciatingly boring chapters and skipped to the next one. I'm not sorry. 

3) Why do you think Moby Dick has become a classic? 

I honestly can't answer this question. Maybe just because it's a representation of a thing most people don't know a lot about? Maybe because it's about a giant whale and so has a bit of mystery? I really, really can't answer this question. I've said it on twitter, but I'll say it again. If they cut out all the lecture crap and just kept the story it would be half as long and twice as good. Maybe something amazing will happen between now and the end of the book to make me change my mind but honestly I feel like this book doesn't deserve to be a classic. I'm putting Melville on my 'never to be read again' authors shelf with Thomas Hardy. 

4) So apparently people can get stuck inside a whale's head and nearly drown. Please inform me exactly how you intend to read this book to your children as a bedtime story?

When I read this chapter I had to stop and reread a few paragraphs to make sure what I thought had happened had actually happened. What the actual fuck? 

I may be advising my children to stay away from Moby Dick unless they want to have whale head drowning nightmares...

Is it over yet? Please oh please let something good happen this week, although the chances are I won't have been able to force myself past the first page and a half (a lot of description of the sea and whale spouts as far as I could tell) to see it. 

If you want to see how everyone else is faring, check out Hanna's blog. 


  1. Bex, you are sooooo funny! :) I love all your comments! I remember thinking just as you are, that I really couldn't understand the fascination with this book. Why is it considered such a classic work and indispensable? I found nothing to truly appreciate about it. But that's just me. It has been 25+ years since I read it, so I suppose I should give it another try...but really, WTF? Why? :)

  2. I keep chipping away at it on the train to and from work. I can usually eke out a chapter or two before I lose the will to live :p

    1) OH OH, the peeling like an orange? How ever did I forget? Clearly my brain repressed it, but cheers for reminding me. Can't get through my evening without THAT image floating around in my head.

    2) Seconded. I skip the lecturey annoying chapters, occasionally skimming to ensure he hasn't moved topic... he never has.

    3) Thirded. I've read books before that I didn't LIKE, but that I could understand what made them so popular. Dickens, for example. This though? I don't understand why it's stood the test of time when it has so little to recommend it.

    4) I know! I had to go and Shmoop it to check that he had actually fallen inside a whale's head.